Have Russia's anti-Putin protests gone stale?

Big day scenario of Putin's upcoming inauguration revealed
Big day scenario of Putin's upcoming inauguration revealed Vladimir Putin

07 May, 2018

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has for the umpteenth time been arrested by security operatives hours before the inauguration of Vladimir Putin.

Maxim Shevchenko, a member of the Kremlin's human rights council, called for an urgent session of the council to discuss the use of force by Cossacks against protesters in Moscow and other cities.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who stood behind the protests, as well as his associate Nikolai Lyaskin were detained in Moscow.

Putin won re-election overwhelmingly in March, extending his grip over Russian Federation for six more years - a tenure of 24 years that would make him Moscow's longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. A recent survey showed people's readiness to participate in protests at the lowest level since 2010.

Across the country, 1,612 people were detained in 26 cities, with more than 700 in the capital alone, according to the protest-monitoring website OVD-Info.

A total of over 1,200 people were taken to police stations in the Russian capital.

The council said "279 of them were Muscovites and 379 - from other towns".

"They're even worse than bandits - the people in power have made this country unfit for living", said Natalia Znaminskaya, 58, editor of a regional journal in the Moscow suburbs.

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"I think that Putin isn't worthy of leading this country".

Some of the pro-Putin activists were dressed as Cossacks, a paramilitary class who served as tsarist cavalrymen in imperial Russian Federation.

"There is a big chunk of people who don't agree with what's happening in the country, who didn't go out to vote, and who don't consider the elections legitimate", she said.

Overall, more than 1,200 people were detained at anti-government rallies across Russian Federation on Saturday, almost half of them in Moscow, according to OVD-Info - a group that monitors political repression in Russian Federation. Putin has now been in power as president or prime minister for more than two decades, which some see as a risky monopoly.

Putin is due to be inaugurated on Monday in a Kremlin ceremony heavy on pomp.

Backed by state TV and the ruling party, and credited with an approval rating of around 80 percent, he is lauded by supporters as a father-of-the-nation figure who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow's global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine.

Navalny was barred from running for president against Putin earlier this year and has no clear avenue for gaining elective office.

With more than 56 million votes, nearly 77 percent of the total, his March election win was his biggest ever and the largest by any post-Soviet Russian leader, something he and his allies say gave him an unequivocal mandate to govern.

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